A few mornings ago, I was strolling along through downtown, camera in tow, trying to find nice little spots to get accustomed to a new-to-me lens that I had rented for the weekend. It was a little warm, but beautiful outside as I strolled through the downtown farmers market and roamed the surrounding streets.
At one point I rounded a corner, passed through a few groups of people, and one of the men huddled in these groups broke off from the rest and began to follow me.
I noticed this immediately. I mean, of course I did. I can’t remember a time when I was not wary of strangers, particularly strange men. I tried not to let it bother me, but I also noticed this man was incredibly muscular, and my mind began racing through scenarios of what might happen if I was cornered and unable to defend myself against such a seemingly strong person.
Still, I trekked onward, making a decision that I would not change my behavior just because of someone else’s disconcerting behavior. Shortly after the man began to follow me, I noticed a wide, brightly lit alleyway that I had never really seen before. The light streaming in was lovely, and I couldn’t help but climb the couple of steps and take a peak at it, noting to myself that it would not be wise to get cornered in there given my hanger-on a few paces behind (and thereby breaking my own rule not to change my behavior— damn).
The man ambled up the stairs just as I was turning around to head back to the sidewalk, and we made eye contact. I smiled and said, “Hello!” thinking that this might be disarming, and make me more human in the eyes of someone who might have seen me as less than in the moments he stalked me down the street. He smiled back, and I casually continued toward the sidewalk, his eyes following me.
I can’t remember all of what was exchanged next, but I remember he said something, so I turned around. He was mumbling. I said, I’m sorry, I can’t hear you. So he came closer, much closer, which perhaps was the point of the mumbling (or perhaps I was just incredibly suspicious of every movement at that point). He began telling me I was very beautiful, and did I live around here? Yes, I said. Born and raised, in a way that meant it could be, well, anywhere around here.
He began asking more and more incredibly personal questions, but I said something—although I can’t remember what—that stopped him at some point. He repeated that I was beautiful, and I thanked him for the compliment, told him firmly that I was going to be on my way, and that I hoped he had a good day. He said Ok gorgeous, see you around.
Luckily, that did the trick. He stayed where he was, and I dared not turn back in case it gave him hope that our interaction was the start of something that he ought to find a way to continue. The entire walk home, I tried to put it out of my mind, thinking it was a relatively minor thing compared to the street harassment some people endure. His words were gentle, I told myself, but the tone and intent of the questioning were quietly desperate.* And he followed me. Following a person is an incredibly inappropriate way to court someone’s attention. It leaves a person feeling unsafe and a little shaken, even if it is in broad daylight when you think no harm could possibly befall you.
My wonderful boyfriend made a fibber of me. That is, this was not my last roll of Velvia after all. Maybe a month or two passed before he gave me several rolls of my favorite discontinued slide film (yes, even beating out Kodachrome) for my birthday.
I haven’t been picking up the camera as much as I used to. I remember when I took one with me everywhere, but somewhere along the line that habit faded away. Last summer, I can’t count the times Jon and I went hiking and see beautiful vistas begging to be captured on film. I’d dig around in my day pack, then realize the camera was in my car, or at home. Priorities shift I guess.
Still, I managed to shoot some things here and there. I’ll post more as I find the words to describe these last several months, but in the mean time, here’s a shot from Zions National Park.
I had taken a bunch of shots of the gorgeous and exhilarating Angels Landing hike when on our way back, my XA2 slipped out of my hands and onto a hard, paved trail. It popped open and this happened. (I lost a couple of shots altogether, but for the most part the roll was intact, luckily.)
Wow, it has certainly been a while. I thought I might try to fit everything into one big post, but maybe I’ll start with the most recent happenings then work my way backward, especially since something people I know have asked about needs to be shared in full:
Thursday night, my mother called to inform me that Hilde, the most wonderful dog anyone could ever know, was sick.
Hilde has been a joy to our small family. She is loving, sweet, playful at times, serene at others, hardly ever barks, never has accidents indoors, great with other people and other dogs… the list goes on. But Hilde has an Achilles’ heel called Pica. To date, she has had at least five surgeries to remove non-food items from her stomach or intestines. You might say to yourself, “then just keep her away from the things she likes to eat.” Well, the last few surgeries have revealed that she
enjoys compulsively consumes rocks/gravel, wood chips, and grass, and that she gorges herself to the point that she cannot pass whatever she has eaten. I’ve also seen her try to surreptitiously eat (and sometimes succeed in eating) plastic, metal, and paper, which is sometimes hard to notice. In other words, she eats anything and everything. So it’s not so easy.
Thursday night into Friday was frightening and painful as we waited for Hilde’s condition to change. My mom now recognizes the signs of illness in Hilde, and she didn’t want to put her through another surgery, plus the cost is rather high. How many more times will Hilde need surgery? How much suffering can this dog put herself through? My mom thought the best option might be to put her down.
This horrified me. Hilde is just three years old, and she has many more good days than bad. I had a terrible night full of tears, ideas of whisking her away and fixing her up, and attempts at rationalization. I kept thinking there must be a way out of this. I still keep thinking this.
However, Hilde seems to be doing a little better. My mom has been working to clear her blockages, and it’s proving effective, although slow-going. Hopefully this was just a scare, but we both wonder how long until the next one, and could that one be deadly to poor Hilde? I hope more vigorous training is in Hilde’s future, but for now, all I can do is be there and love her.